Toto Wolff breaks silence on rumoured W14 upgrades

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has confirmed that the team are working on a W14 upgrade, but it will not be coming anytime in the immediate future.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has confirmed there will be no major upgrades brought to their 2023 title challenger before May’s Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix, despite previous suggestions that a shakeup with the car was expected.

Following on from a disappointing 2022 that saw the team fall off from the top of the mountain amid a regulation change, Mercedes have again started slowly in 2023 and been unable to challenge for race wins.

George Russell and Lewis Hamilton managed P4 and P5 finishes respectively in the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, but Wolff inferred following the race in Jeddah that their package isn’t good enough and that significant change would be coming in a bid to propel Mercedes back up the rankings and away from a fight for the ‘best of the rest’.

Ahead of the Australian Grand Prix, though, the team principal insisted that the changes will not be immediate, when speaking to Sky F1: “We’re doing good steps, good developments, but you’ve got to run them, confirm them, produce them.

“So, I think we’re not looking for introduction before Imola. We want to do it right also.”

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But while all the focus is on Mercedes’ desperate attempts to find a way up the pecking order once again, Wolff has maintained that he is satisfied with how the team are working to find solutions, claiming they are ‘going in a good direction’.

“We shouldn’t expect like a miracle: suddenly we are on pole by half a second.”

Seven-time world champion Hamilton has already cast doubt over what the team could achieve in Melbourne this weekend, despite managing to finish second-fastest between the two Red Bulls in FP1.

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FP2 was a different story with Hamilton 13th-fastest for the session, while teammate Russell was stuck fourth-fastest behind Fernando Alonso, Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen.

When quizzed on the team’s chances for qualifying, Hamilton claimed: “It’ll just be about trying to see if we can get up as high as possible. So I think we’ve got pace to be around fifth [place] area, same as the last race.”

Mercedes haven’t won in Australia since Valtteri Bottas took the chequered flag in 2019. After two years away from the Albert Park circuit, Charles Leclerc secured a dominant win for Ferrari at the track in 2022.